20 things to do when you’re down in the dumps

1. Wash your hair, like they do at the salon.
Or go to a local salon and get your hair washed. I love it when someone else washes my hair! If you don’t want to go to the salon, wash your own hair. Really massage your scalp and hair folicles. Massage therapy, especially on our head, has a great affect on our mood. It gets the blood flowing to our head, relieves pain, and helps us feel relaxed. So treat your head to 15 minutes in the steam, and give it a good rub!

2. Go to your local library and find a book you read as a kid.
Maybe you’ll run into a little kid you can non-creepily recommend it too. If you don’t want to check it out, read it while you’re in the library. Kids books are pretty quick reads, after all. Notice little details about it you never noticed before. Try to remember the first time you read it. I would probably look for The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Where the Wild Things Are. And you can’t go wrong with Dr. Seuss.

3. Take a step to make a change.
Something specific bothering you? Take a step to change it, even if it’s just talking to a confidant about what you’re upset about. Taking steps to change something that’s upsetting us, no matter how small, can help us feel like we’ve accomplished something important, and helps us to relieve the stress of the problem.

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4. Write a thoughtful letter to a famous person who changed your life.
I’ve been meaning to (I mean I totally did) write a letter to R.L. Stine to let him know how much the Goosebumps series shaped me as a kid. They were my favorite, and I knew being a spooky weirdo was okay if books like this existed! Pull out the pen and paper, and pick someone who created something meaningful to you, as a kid or an adult. Then let it all spill out onto the paper.

5. Get some vitamin D.
It’s time to go say hello to the sunshine! Get outside and lay in the sun, or go for a walk in the park. I think we can all relate to the winter-time blues, so if the sun is hiding away, you can fake it. Make your own beach getaway in your house! Turn up the heat and put on some summer clothes. It’s time for Jimmy Buffet and margaritas! (don’t forget some of those fancy tropical drink umbrellas!) Put on some beachy movies like 50 First Dates, Lilo and Stitch, Jaws, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or Blue Hawaii, and watch them while laying on a towel.

6. Find a kindred spirit.
Think you’re down in the dumps? Chances are someone else is too. Use your sad radar and seek them out. Go out of your way to do something for them to pull them out of their slump. You’d be surprised what a random act of kindness can do for your mood!

7. Go fish.
Fishing for compliments isn’t something we should do all the time, but if we need a little pat on the back, it’s nice to get positive feedback from friends. Post something to social media and ask people what they think your best quality is. Hopefully your friends won’t troll you, but this plan may backfire. Who knows, maybe they’ll make you laugh!

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Image from hellokittyjunkie.com

8. Sign up for a pen pal.
Not only will you have a friend from another exciting land, but chances are, your hometown is going to be new and exciting to them too. Go buy some postcards of your local area to send to your pen friend. Maybe snag some of your favorite candy or coasters from your favorite restaurant. Check out my favorite website for finding a pen pal!

9. Sponsor a child.
Mark and I sponsor through Compassion International, but there are so many great charities out there that can help you find a child in need. Charity Navigator has ratings and helpful search filters to help you find your perfect organization. Leave a comment with some of your favorites!

10. Get back to nature.
Spend some time in the woods. Let all 5 of your senses loose in the forest. Nothing rights a downtrodden spirit better than reconnecting with God and the planet. Sit on a stump and meditate. Sniff some tree bark. Poke some plants. Be on the look out for faeries. Maybe don’t eat any mushrooms though…

11. Check out the Darwin awards.
…and be glad you aren’t any of those people.

12. Spring clean, even if it isn’t spring.
Clean out your closet and donate some clothes you don’t wear anymore. Imagine how happy (and stylish!) their new owner will be. Clean out a cabinet or cupboard you haven’t opened in a while. Rearrange your furniture to freshen up your house. Make sure to put on the Happy Working Song as you clean crud up in the kitchen!

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13. Watch one of your favorite movies or cartoons from when you were a kid.
Bonus points if you do it with wine, because wine makes everything better. I love getting on YouTube and finding episodes of Rainbow Brite, the Care Bears, Gummi Bears, and David the Gnome when I’m feeling down.

14. Get lost in a good spiritual book.
Sometimes our soul needs some TLC too. I find My Utmost for His Highest an encouragement to me on the daily. Find a book that speaks to you and get reconnected to a higher power.

15. Ask for suggestions for laugh-out-loud comedies from your friends.
Post it on a social network. Watch whatever they choose. Then, pop some popcorn and live-post about the experience!

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16. Move it, move it.
Exercise is proven to make us happier, so get off your butt and shake it! Go for a walk while playing Ingress. Take your dog to the dog park. Go geo-caching. Find a local pool and go for a dip. Hike somewhere new. Make a game out of a TV show, and every time you see a certain character, or they say a certain word, do a jumping jack or a squat. Put on a dance song and jump around. Jump up jump up and get down.

17. Call your mom or dad, or a relative you haven’t talked to in a long time.
Tell the person you call all the silly little things you’ve been doing on this list. Maybe they’ll have a suggestion. Don’t forget to tell them you love them!

18. Pull out some art supplies and make a self portrait.
Getting creative is a great way to get happy. Do a quick sketch, drawing, pastel, painting, or just take a selfie and get crazy with your filters. Submit your selfie on French Girls and someone else will turn you into art. Maybe get weird, and make art using shaving cream on a table surface, or face paints. You go, Picasso!

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A map of Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World!

19. Plan a pretend vacation.
Where have you always wanted to travel? Money is no object when you’re playing pretend! Scout out plane tickets, seek travel tips, and search for photos of your vacation location. Look up fun tourist attractions at your fake destination. Imagine what you’d pack if you left tomorrow. Think about what souvenirs you would want to bring home. I do this all the time with Disney World!

20. Write a blog post like this one.
Write down your own tips for things you can do the next time you’re down in the dumps, specific to your tastes. Include feel good movies and books you love, foods you enjoy, people who you would call to cheer you up, or songs you’d listen to. Then share your ideas with the world, and spread the happiness!

#ComplimentHour – an experiment in PosiTweeting

I hate subtweeting. Yeah, I’m guilty of having done it, but at its core, it’s an attempt to piss someone off without communicating with them directly. It’s passive aggressive, it’s pointless, and it’s mean. So I’ve decided to start something which I hope will be the anti-subtweet, and it’s called #ComplimentHour. It actually started last year when my friend Mia (Founder of the geek positivity group, Superheroesque) and I were spreading it around like wildfire, in an effort to spread joy and positivity to our Twitter friends. Intrigued? Here’s the scoop.

complimenthour

Not too much of an explanation needed. So what now? Now you can go out there and start a #ComplimentHour. Simple as that. Now go spread joy!

Make sure to follow me and Mia on Twitter!


Featured image from scienceblogs.com

Geek Girl Advice: Things I wish I could tell myself before my first cosplay.

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Making the choice to create a costume and parade around a room full of people who are obsessed with whatever you’re dressed up as is pretty ballsy. The cosplay community doesn’t take their fandoms lightly, and thus it can be stressful and difficult to build up the courage to cosplay, knowing how judgmental the community might be. But cosplaying is super rewarding, and a unique way to artistically portray a character or series we often times have very deep connections with. I remember when I first made the choice to put together a Sailor Saturn costume for NekoCon in Virigina. I knew how much I loved Sailor Moon and the character. I was so excited… but so terrified. I really wish I had some of this advice before I got started.


Hope Erica: Make sure it will still be comfortable after six hours. If you have to think about the costume, you will have less fun.


Koriann Naya Bishop: Duct tape is simultaneously your best friend and worst enemy. It can help hold you up, keep heavy/bulky accessories is place, but avoid putting it on your skin if possible. If you need a little help defying gravity (especially my fellow anime/comic cosplayers) try saran wrap between your skin and the tape. It’ll stick to your skin tight enough to protect you from some serious pain when you have to cut yourself out later.


Morgan O’Brien: Your home made Fiona cosplay will stand out amongst the 20 other store bought Fiona cosplays. But it stood out.


Kristin Hackett of SuperSpaceChick,com
Kristin Hackett as a superhero of her own design, with other cast members from Syfy’s Fangasm
Kristin Hackett: Have fun!


Brittany Smith: People will try to stop you for pictures. Its ok to say no if its stressing you out or you have to get somewhere. They will understand. I got totally mobbed by people with cameras the first time I cosplayed at a con and it was extremely stressful! I was used to LARP settings and totally not expecting it.


Kendra Linn VanDonkelaar: People won’t care that your Guthrie is excited and hyper. They will love you and you don’t have to worry about being tooooo annoying.


Carrie Biermann: MAKE SURE YOU CAN STILL GO TO THE BATHROOM WHEN IN COSTUME. three of my corsets are long-line, because i have a long torso, but they’re hell when trying to use the facilities in costume. (too much good posture is a bad thing!) I have gone back to regular-length corsets wherever I can for just this reason. Movement, especially in the LARP setting, is key. If you can’t move, you can’t engage.


Mia Moore as Luna Lovegood
Mia Moore as Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter! Photo by Mel Shardae
Mia Moore: Do it for yourself and have so much fun with it! Don’t be too hard on yourself 🙂


Jacci Kaschak: Do not get discouraged or intimidated by others no matter what they say; confidence and pride in whatever you create is a major part in cosplaying well.


Bethany O’Connor: Don’t worry about how much better the other cosplayers look. Don’t worry about how much more elaborate their costume is, or how much prettier you -think- they are than you. A huge part of cosplay is “owning” the character whose shoes you’ve stepped into. You may not have the best costume, but you sure as Hell can play your part like a champion. Also: Rubber cement and bobby pins.


Koriann Naya Bishop: You’re going to be surrounded by potentially thousands of excited, hyper people. Damage happens. Keep a small sewing kit/tape/glue/other quick fixes depending on your costume’s material in your carrying bag or hotel room. Not only can you save your own costume on the fly, but someone else might need a helping hand.


Ayla Almee
Ayla Almee: Don’t worry, you’ll get better. A good photographer helps as well!


Ebs: Balance ur body size with self conscious. If u got a skinny bod totes go all out but if ur a curvier girl, know what works


Cheryl Lim: Charge all your electronics, and have some quiet time to prepare. Pack the emergency kit.


Cassidy Noga Scott: Take lots of pictures. Make sure to get some at the start of the day with your camera or phone – no telling what could happen and there isn’t always time to pose for a quality picture (and there’s the issue of lighting and stuff too). Also: be the character. Don’t be self conscious. You probably won’t see any of the people again and hey, you’re in costume. So you’re awesome. (:


Me as Utena Tenjou
Me as Revolutionary Girl Utena Tenjou/bellydance mash-up
Leslie Stewart: A good wig is your best friend! A wig will make the costume, and helps to make the role-playing experience more immersive. Role-playing is key and adds to the costume on a whole ‘nother level, so get INTO character. Don’t stress. Stay hydrated and well fed. Take group photos with people in your ‘series.’ Make friends, swap Facebooks, and stay in touch with other geeks who love the same crazy crap as you.


Melissa Ann Paris: Take pictures, relax and have fun, don’t worry about things being not ‘perfect.’


Michelle Otte: Make sure “big” costumes have ventilation and a good eye hole… Conventions aren’t fun if you can’t breathe or see the sale items. Also if you have to take big costume off for a little bit do not feel bad about this, though people may heckle you for it.


Jamila Rowser crossplays an epic Spike from Cowboy Bebop
Jamila Rowser as a crossplayed Spike from Cowboy Bebop!
Jamila Rowser: Don’t let your non-sewing abilities stop you. You can find someone else to help! Also, be creative and remix your cosplay is just as great. You can make it steampunk, cyberpunk, crossplay/gender bend, post-apocalyptic, mashups, the possibilities are endless!


Thanks to all the Larpettes and Iggles who took the time to answer. Leave a comment and tell me which advice you wish you could give yourself before your first cosplay!

PS: Good news! Remember that Hot Topic shirt from a few months ago, practically bullying cosplayers to do it “right” or not at all? Well, good news, that shirt has since been removed.

Be yourself.

freedom-being-who-you-are-robin

Have you ever been ashamed of yourself? Shame comes from doing something you find morally wrong, derisive, or that is in direct conflict with who we are at the core. When we do something shameful, we do something against our true self. We also become ashamed of ourselves when try to deny our true selves, or feel like others are ashamed of us.

shame


Photo from Giuseppe Cristiano on Society6

We can learn about our true self by examining what shames us. We can’t forget that our identity is so valuable – it’s who we are! And sometimes when we try to change it, contradict it, or fit the wrong mold, it can feel like we are being crushed by a giant rock. We see examples of this all the time. People who are afraid to be their true selves in schools, the work place, among family and friends, in stores, in churches. We’re so afraid of our selves and what others will think about us.

let-it-go


Photo from designlovefest

We become trapped by worrying how others will feel about us if we are our true selves. We can try to mold our identity to what we think people want us to be… what is most popular, widely accepted, or loved. But when we become reinforced by this false identity, by perceiving the social acceptance as love, we’re doing ourselves a great harm. Being loved by millions and having no self love is like having nothing at all.

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The most important thing we can do for ourselves is to become our true identity, and never contradict it. Know who you are, become them, and love yourself.

The second most important thing we can do for ourselves and the world is to encourage others to become their true idetity and love them for it.

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This has been your daily positivitiy. Now go out there and be you, you big beautiful you.